Tigers struggle in final scrimmage

Byron Beers | Daily Press

Tahlequah senior Qua'shon Leathers grinds through defensive back drills at Doc Wadley Stadium during fall camp.

Tahlequah took some lumps Thursday in its final tuneup.

The Tigers suffered losses to Hilldale (14-0) and Skiatook (7-0) in their final preseason outing in a three-way scrimmage in Muskogee.

Offensively, the Tigers couldn't put together consistent drives and struggled in their run game and along the offensive line.

Youth and inexperience at the quarterback position, as well as the offensive line, showed up. The Tigers will be replacing 2019 District 5A-4 Co-Quarterback of the Year Tate Christian. The candidates to take over the spot are senior Hunter Smith and junior Tyler Joice.

The Tigers are also replacing offensive linemen Blake Corn, Kooper McAlvain, Hayden Napier and Joe Hendrix.

"Offensively, we struggled," Tahlequah head coach Brad Gilbert said. "We struggled to a degree up front and in the run game. We weren't as efficient in the passing game as obviously as we'd like to be. We just weren't ever really able to establish anything and get going.

"We did some good things, it just wasn't in consecutive plays to establish long drives. We picked up some first downs, we just weren't able to capitalize."

On defense, Tahlequah allowed too many big plays in the pass game that resulted in touchdowns.

"All three scores came on three big plays and that's part of it," Gilbert said. "You're going to give up big plays and you've just got to be able to move on and recover from them, move on to the next play."

The biggest positive on either side of the ball was the run defense.

"We played really well against the run really all night long," Gilbert said.

The Tigers, coming off a 9-2 season and a district championship, open their season on Friday, Sept. 4 when they host Tulsa McLain in a 7 p.m. start at Doc Wadley Stadium.

"We're playing a lot of guys and trying to see who can play," Gilbert said. "We're trying to figure out where people are at, and that's obviously important in the two scrimmages we've had. We need guys to be ready, especially when we start district play.

"We'll learn from this, but there were some good things we can build on."

Recommended for you